Gabriel Bortoleto left it as late as possible to take pole for the FIA Formula 3 Feature Race. The Trident driver had been on provisional pole until several late efforts demoted him, but the Brazilian rebounded to seal P1 on his final attempt.
Grégoire Saucy ended up second for ART Grand Prix, while Gabriele Minì had to settle for third in his Hitech Pulse-Eight car.
With all 30 cars out of the pitlane, it was a busy Albert Park Circuit, but only temporarily. A shunt for Josep María Martí brought out the Red Flags with just six minutes gone. The Spaniard ran wide into the gravel on the exit of Turn 10 and couldn’t avoid hitting the barriers. He was out of the car and ok but frustrated to be out of the session early.
With 24 minutes to go, the session went back to green and everyone filtered onto track once again. After the tyre preparation laps, it was Bortoleto that set the pace to beat, putting in a 1:34.064 on his first attempt. Luke Browning was his closest rival, 0.2s down on the provisional pole time.
Franco Colapinto went fastest with three purple sectors in his MP Motorsport #10, dipping into the 1:33s to take the top spot. Zak O’Sullivan slotted into second, 0.012s down on Colapinto’s 1:33.588.
A return to the pits with 15 minutes to go brought a temporary lull in the action, but with 10 minutes on the clock, drivers were back out for their final attack laps. Two purple sectors for Bortoleto put him in the window to take provisional pole, but his third sector left him a tenth off and unable to improve from third.
The second Red Flag of the session came with four and a half minutes to go. ART Grand Prix’s Kaylen Frederick hit the wall out of the final corner, but the American was ok afterwards. Back to green and with time for one final attempt, everyone was immediately back out apart from Trident’s trio, the team opting to wait until releasing their cars back onto track.
There were late improvements and Minì had been a tenth of a second up on Bortoleto’s time. The Italian rounded the final corner to complete his lap, 0.2s quicker to take provisional pole. His time was beaten by Saucy moments later, who put in a 1:33.196. Bortoleto was one of the last to cross the line and retook the top spot with a 1:33.025 right at the last.
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Nikita Bedrin didn’t complete his final lap, becoming the second driver to hit the wall coming onto the main straight. The Jenzer Motorsport driver lost the back end and couldn’t keep his car out of the barriers. Minì was another off the track as the chequered flag fell, going straight on at Turn 1 and nudging the barriers with his front nosecone.
Leonardo Fornaroli made it two Tridents in the top five in P4 ahead of O’Sullivan who finished in fifth. PREMA Racing teammate Paul Aron followed, ahead of Colapinto, Dino Beganovic, Browning, Caio Collet and Oliver Goethe. Sebastián Montoya is set to line-up on reverse grid pole for the Sprint Race after finishing Qualifying in 12th position.